Being able to stay at home all day and get up five minutes before our classes start sounds like something that all of us have dreamed about our whole lives. However, now that it has become a reality due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us don’t seem to enjoy it as much as we thought. On top of the virus itself, measures taken to control the spread of it such as social distancing, quarantine, and self-isolation can make people feel lonely, anxious, and not be in a good place mentally.
7 months ago from today, October 17th, 2020, I got an email saying that our school is going to go virtual for 2 months due to COVID-19. I still remember the excitement buzzing around our entire school as we all celebrated the shutting down of school. My friends and I instantly went to my house, eating hotpot and cake and generally just being happy and having fun. Little did we know as we sat around the table fighting over the last bite of cake that 2 months was going to turn into 3, 4, 5, and now 7 months. That is 7 months of not seeing anybody besides my family. 7 months of anxiously checking the news to see how many COVID-19 cases there are each day. 7 months of living life in a way that I had never once dreamed I would have to live.
During these seven months, I have faced a lot of trouble with staying positive and healthy. Most days I feel unmotivated to do anything and I would spend hours upon hours scrolling through news about the coronavirus, getting increasingly anxious about all the negative news. In addition, hearing about my family’s friends and my friends’ families getting this disease made it even harder to stay happy during these times. Being stuck all day in a tiny apartment with only my family also led to arguments and feelings of loneliness that were not good for my mental health. For anybody else feeling anxious, alone, sad, or mentally and/or physically drained and unwell, I want to remind you that it is completely normal and okay to feel this way. We are all living in scary and uncertain times but we are all going through this together and we will all get through this together. To help you get through this easier, here are some self care tips that have helped me both mentally and physically during this time.
1. Stay Connected.
Humans are social creatures and social interactions with others are vital to our health and wellbeing. According to a study from the American Psychological Association, lack of social interaction heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Therefore, even though it is very important to be following social distancing rules, being emotionally close with our friends and families is more important now than ever. In a digital world where all our friends are one click away, it is extremely easy to stay connected. Staying in touch with my friends whether it's through Instagram, snapchat, or TikTok, has helped me a lot during this time and helped me feel less alone.
2. Get fresh air.
It is extremely important to stay at home and follow social distancing rules. However, just opening your windows or going out into your backyard to get some fresh air can be extremely helpful. Being cooped up in a room all day can be both physically and mentally draining and getting fresh air has always been important. Since I have a backyard, I usually like to go out there to just walk around and I find that even 20 minutes a day of being outside and with fresh air and sunshine can improve my mood and mental health drastically.
3. Get physical exercise. Physical exercise has always been good for our health but with gyms and schools being closed, it can be quite hard to get physical exercise. However, there are many resources online, such as workout youtubers or fitness apps, that give u ways that you can work out as long as you have a little bit of space and a floor. I have been working out, doing yoga, going outside to play volleyball with my sister, and going biking early in the morning, in order to get some physical exercise in. This article is not sponsored but here are some of my favorite youtuber and fitness apps that has helped me keep active:
Fitness youtubers: Pamela Reif, Chloe Ting, Emi Wong, MadFit
Yoga: Yoga with Adriene
Training apps: Nike Training App, 7 Minute Workout (IOS), 7 minute workout (Android)
4. Focus on things that you can control. As tempting as it is to scroll for hours through news about COVID-19, research on vaccines, number of deaths, number of cases in your area, etc, at one point it is important to realize whether knowing this information is more helpful or harmful to you. Yes, it is important to keep up with the news. However, I find that I can get very anxious and worried as I am reading about COVID-19, even though the things that I am reading about are completely out of my control. Therefore it is important to remind yourself to only worry about things that you can control like wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, taking care of your friends and families, and taking care of yourself.
5. Rest your eyes. While a perk of online school is that we can roll out of bed five minutes before class starts, one of the many drawbacks is that it is extremely hard on our eyes. We are using our computers not only for doing homework but to attend classes as well, and this can be very unhealthy. Therefore using your phone and computer less to do things outside of work and school, going outside and looking at nature, and closing your computer and looking out your window in between classes can be extremely beneficial for your health.
But sometimes, things can get a little too much and overwhelming even if you have been taking care of yourself. This is completely normal and don’t be afraid to reach out to any helplines if you ever feel like you need it.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US): 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish
Suicide Prevention Hotline (UK): +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90, call 116123
Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and TTY 1-800-487-4889
Suicide hotlines of every country
Have a great day!!
Photo credit: Kenzie